if a product, strategy or an ingredient is “mission-aligned.” It’s a challenge to
everyone in the company to live up to the ideals and a driver for constant
Whatever policy or statement you develop, it has to fit your organization.
Once you have it, you need to make it an integral part of your culture. Company
leadership has to support it, talk about it and celebrate efforts that translate the
words into action on your products and company performance.
You may also want to consider developing a sustainability policy that more
comprehensively defines what you stand for and sets the bar for your performance. This can always be compacted. Interface, a commercial carpet company,
boils their more comprehensive statement down to “Mission Zero: Our promise
to eliminate any negative impact our company may have on the environment by
the year 2020.” This has led them to focus on seven “fronts”: eliminate waste,
benign emissions, renewable energy, close the loop, resource-efficient transportation, sensitize stakeholders and redesign commerce.
help you figure out ways to reduce
your energy impact. This differs from
an LCA in that a carbon footprint
mainly looks at energy usage, not the
holistic environmental impact. Also
LCAs are usually product focused.
Besides doing a full footprint analysis, there are many other ways to gauge
your use of resources. Create a spread-sheet to track your gas, electric and
water bills. Also, many utility providers
will conduct free audits for customers.
Because technologies for energy and
water efficiency improve over time, it is
worthwhile to audit your operations
every few years. Some of the items to
“Stonyfield Farm • Do we use more water than need-
ed? Do we run sprinklers on
reduced facility energy use timers that keep running even
when it is raining? There are irri-
by 46 million kWh…and gation controllers that can sense
prevented over 14,000 tons the need for water based on soil
moisture. Look at installing flow
of CO from entering the restrictors and incorporating a 2
water reuse system. For more info,
atmosphere.” go to www.irrigation.org.
• Do we waste energy? Do we keep
lights and computers on when no
one is around? Is our lighting efficient? If you have T12 fluorescents
with magnetic ballasts, switch them
to T8 high-efficiency (and low mercury) fluorescents with electronic
ballasts. Incandescent bulbs can
usually be replaced with compact
fluorescents (low mercury). Warehouses that have older metal halide
fixtures can be upgraded to T5 fluorescent high bay fixtures that give
more light, are dimmable and use
way less energy. Use lighting controls to automatically shut off
and/or dim lights when spaces are
unoccupied or sunlight is sufficient.
For task lighting, use LED or compact fluorescent desk lamps.
• Are our equipment and processes
up to current efficiency standards?
Any refrigerator that is at least 7
years old should be replaced as the
In some organizations, the CEO has taken
on the role of chief sustainability officer to
make it clear to the organization that pursuing sustainability is a priority value. Even in
those organizations, however, the day-to-day responsibility for making progress on
sustainability goals has to rest on someone
who can make immediate decisions and provide help with implementation. It can be a
person dedicated to sustainability or it can be a
part of another job with sufficient visibility and
authority in the organization to be recognized as a
leader on the issue. Responsibility for sustainability does not
mean that this person makes change happen; that requires the cooperation of
many within an organization. What the designated person is responsible for is
being a resource, a cheerleader, a visionary, a spokesperson on the issue, the “go
to” person on what defines sustainable actions for the company.
Define Metrics and Goals
In many organizations, the cliché “what gets measured, gets done” is really
true. The fact is in most businesses, the things that are valued are things that can
be measured—units sold, costs, income, net profits—and those are the things
around which performance incentives are built.
Just about every organization that has moved down the path of sustainability
has done so by setting goals and measuring progress along the way. Doing so
makes it clear to the entire organization what achievements are expected. Setting
clear, achievable goals for sustainability and identifying appropriate metrics (e.g.,
energy and water use, waste generation and recycling, air, water and carbon
emissions) will make it clear to all within the organization what “counts.”
Making Utilities Pay
Responsible utility use is a huge factor in greening your company. Many companies start with an energy audit to establish a “carbon footprint,” or the amount
of emissions related to your company or a product. These companies can also